Chancellor: Northern Powerhouse is very much alive

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Yesterday at the Conservative Party Conference, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, gave a categorical endorsement of the Northern Powerhouse as part of a wider approach to realigning economic growth across the country.

He said:

“The Northern Powerhouse project takes a visionary approach - linking the great cities of the North into a coherent economic entity - an interconnected region that raises productivity and delivers growth by making it easier and cheaper for firms and individuals to move goods, people, and ideas. 

“And I pledge today, that the Treasury, under my leadership, will continue to drive the Northern Powerhouse project, working in partnership with local leaders to see it deliver its potential for people in the North.”

After the painful hiatus over Hinkley Point, this will reassure many in the infrastructure community, including its project managers, who could be forgiven for thinking that a personal agenda against the former Chancellor George Osborne was clouding political and economic judgements in the national interest.

Osborne himself has indicated that he will continue to press the case for the Northern Powerhouse and the forthcoming Mayoral elections in Liverpool and Manchester will focus minds on the challenges of turning investment into social progress.

However, in the short term, we await the main course which will follow yesterday’s appetiser. 

The Chancellor was sparing in his announcements, choosing to reserve what firepower he has for the Autumn Statement on 23 November.

The pressure will rightly be on him to follow through, and commit to infrastructure spending which will help the economy resist recessionary pressures as the reality of Brexit begins to bite.

On 8 December, APM will hold a conference in Manchester which will be ideally timed to debate and discuss these issues, as they affect project management, with a range of senior speakers. 

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Posted by Julian Smith 2 on 4th Oct 2016

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Julian Smith is head of external affairs at APM.

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